No TTC fare hike for 2011
There will be no TTC fare hike for 2011 according to multiple news outlets, including CTV and CP24. Chair Karen Stintz is set to make an announcement at 2 p.m. at which time we'll get confirmation of whether or not this little miracle is indeed true. Assuming that it is, it'll be very interesting to track the reaction to Ford's announcement yesterday. If it only took a few hours to find a way around the hike, then why make the announcement at all?
More to come.
Update (1:12 p.m.):
The National Post now reports that sources have confirmed that the hike is no longer, though the details won't come until Stintz's press conference.
Update (2:10 p.m.):
TTC Chair Karen Stintz has confirmed that fare hike is dead. Speaking to press assembled at City Hall she explained that the City has "found" $16 million and that the TTC will come up with an additional $8 million. As to just which stone the City unturned to find this chunk of change, Stintz couldn't or wouldn't say, directing inquiries to City Manager, Joe Penachetti.
So all's well that ends well? Not really. Regardless of how the Ford team tries to spin this, the optics are terrible. Not only are there charges that the hike was a fabricated crisis designed to cast Ford in the role of efficiency-finding hero, but the fact that Ford seemed to miss the correlation between the money lost to the elimination of the car registration tax and the money gained from the proposed fare increase just makes it look like amateur hour at City Hall. And that's not to mention the fact that one might argue that the only way the City was able to "find" the $16 million today is that it was "lost" yesterday. Perhaps that's not true literally, but it's a pretty useful metaphor.
The avoidance of an increase also makes Penachetti look silly, as he was quoted yesterday as saying that "We can't get to zero property taxes without the fare increase." Many questions thus remain, but Stintz did confirm that there will be no additional service cuts (or reallocations). But, despite the hoopla that surrounded the potential fare hike, these service cuts are very serious, and as I argued yesterday, will pose much difficulty for those who rely on the affected routes.
Photo by Brendan Lynch.
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